(Bloomberg) -- Singaporean lawmakers are set to debate proposals on Monday that repeal a longstanding legal ban on sex between men and ensure only parliament has the right to define marriage that is currently that between a man and a woman. 

The government in moving to finally strike the controversial law from its books is seeking to control a divisive issue in Singapore’s multicultural society through a balance between members of the LGBTQ community advocating for greater acceptance and the conservative groups pushing back. The repeal may also help the city-state attract top foreign talent at a time it wants to bolster its status as a regional financial hub.

The proposed repeal of a colonial-era law criminalizing sex between men known as Section 377A was introduced in parliament last month after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong earlier announced the initiative amid changing sentiments among the population over the issue. The ruling People’s Action Party controls a super-majority in parliament, all but assuring the legislation will become law.

The constitutional amendment on marriage is seen as a compromise, making clear that it is parliament’s prerogative to define marriage so that it can’t be challenged in courts. The government has said most Singaporeans still want to maintain “the current family and social norms, where marriage is between a man and a woman, and children are brought up in such a family structure.”

With the changes, parliament will have powers to make laws to define and safeguard Singapore’s institution of marriage. The amendment will also protect government policies based on the definition of marriage that include public housing rules or financial benefits for married couples.

The ruling People’s Action Party will not lift the whip when lawmakers vote. Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong has said the government wants to ensure a “very limited, careful and controlled repeal of Section 377A” while some religious groups have asked for the party whip to be lifted to lawmakers can vote according to their conscience. 

While LGBTQ groups welcomed the repeal, they have raised concern about the subsequent constitutional amendment. Over the years, activists mounted a series of unsuccessful lawsuits against the ban on sex between men, which carries a maximum jail term of two years. 

For now, a majority of Singaporeans are against same-sex marriages though there was support for the planned repeal of Section 377A. A poll by Blackbox Research in August found 55% of the respondents said “no” when asked whether they personally support gay marriage while 31% said “yes.”

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